The Black Cat By Edgar Allan Poe Essays

The Black Cat By Edgar Allan Poe Essays

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Author Edgar Allan Poe is no stranger to the compelling literary language of horror, and he displays his comfort with the classic elements of the genre in his short story “The Black Cat”. This twisted tale is told from the perspective of an anonymous narrator, describing his blameless hand in the murder of his beloved cat and his wife. The deranged narrator tells his version of the horrific events, while trying to convince the reader that he is a sane man. In “The Black Cat”, Edgar Allan Poe utilizes the narrator’s appeals to ethos and dramatic imagery to illustrate how the acceptance of a disturbed disposition can consume the sanity of the most docile man, and turn him into a violent monster, demonstrating that all humans are susceptible to the influence of evil.
The narrator opens the story suddenly, speaking in a frenzied manner as he hurries to pen a story which has left him flabbergasted. His obvious disbelief of the “mere household events” that have “terrified, have tortured, have destroyed” him creates an unsettling feeling in the reader (Poe 1). Already, the reader begins to question whether the narrator is a reliable source to be accounting the story. It is clear that the narrator is in a compromised state of mind due to the “Horror” that he has experienced, as he admits that his intellect is “excitable” (1). His confession of his current frazzled disposition notifies the reader to be searching for signs as to whether he is a sane man. To add to the disconcerting aspect of the story, the narrator remains unnamed, making him a mysterious character. His anonymity further compromises his credibility as the reader is unaware of his personal identity.
The enigmatic narrator, after admitting to his troubled mindset, tries t...


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...hat govern a man and his character (Garrison 2). The narrator expresses his preference for evil and divulges that “evil thoughts became [his] sole intimates” (Poe 4).
It is through the story of “The Black Cat” that the topic of evil and human nature is discussed. Poe posits an interesting theory that any human being, even the most sensitive, kindhearted man, can be turned on to evil acts if he lets evil thoughts consume him. If the motivation and liking for evil nestles itself into a person’s brain, it is possible for this person to commit the most abominable acts, even upon loved ones. Poe’s use of dramatic imagery in the description of the violent acts and the narrator’s attempts to appeal to ethos convey the message that all humans are vulnerable to the force of evil. It is through a person’s strength in morality that he is able to repel from wicked temptations.

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